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My 2020 Book List

January 15, 2021 No Comments

Time for the annual book list recap! Even though it wasn’t nearly as much as I hoped for, 2020 was a great year of reading for me! Even more important than the quantity of reading was the quality and what I’ve learned from the books. So here’s my list of what I read in 2020 and a little bit of what I thought. You can also look back at the books I read in 2019, 2018, and what I had originally wanted to read in 2018 before life happened–ha! (Check it out though, it was a great book list!)

A year in review: my book list of what I read in 2020
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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This was the first time I’ve read the unabridged version, and I adored it. I knew I would, though. It did surprise me a bit, though. There were times I was shocked at how…archaic?..some of it sounded. It was amazing to me how a writing so decidedly feminist could also be so submissive sounding. There were two things I (re)learned from this surprise: 1) we can’t compare our time to previous generations and say we’re better or more progressive than another time, and 2) there is no “one way” to feminism. Can you be a feminist and still make your family dinner every day? Sure! Can you be a feminist and a SAHM? You betcha! Even with differences, the feminist lessons shine. PS, this was my favorite book from this year.

PS, who grew up on this movie and forever loves Christian Bale because of it? Just me?

No-Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

This was a great one! It took me most of the year to read, so now I want to go back and read it all in a month as a review. I found that this style of discipline/child-rearing is how I want to be as a parent. I truly believe our role is as teachers, not as punishers. If you find yourself in parenting patterns you don’t like, it’s possible to change! I loved the tangible help this book offers and many times saw quick changes in my kids (and me) because of those tips.

The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar

Time to get your girl crush on! My husband picked up this book when he ran to the library before it all shut down in March. Good man, that husband. This is a story about a female pilot who enlisted in the WASP program during World War 2. While fictional, her character is based on actual histories of WASPs. It’s a story with adventure, grit, and romance, and I loved it. Also, the author, Noelle Salazar, is a Navy veteran! I’m so so amazed by women in the military, partly because they’ve done so much and many of their stories haven’t been told.

My Great-Aunt Dot and Grandma during WW2. Grandma didn’t stay in the CAV long, but I still think it’s all so cool.

Thriving in Transitions by Laurie Schreiner, Michelle Louis, and Denise Nelson

My entire team read this book this year. My university’s administration has been focusing on the theme of student thriving for the last couple of years. Higher ed constantly seeks to improve student success, and the idea of thriving is about identifying and implementing characteristics that increase academic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal success in the college environment. There are so many things going on in students’ lives, which means there are lots of opportunities for them to experience success and failure, and lots of opportunity for us to help them. It was a great read (though admittedly very academic-y) for an academic advisor and parent, and gave me ideas for how to raise more resilient kids.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom

My sixth grade heart was so happy to reread this absolute GEM of a book. What 11-turning-12 year old girl wasn’t concerned about getting her period, making friends, and boys? I’m still so amazed at how well Judy Bloom understands that age and I remember thinking through some of the same issues Margaret was going through. I was happy to revisit this classic, nostalgic read. It also made me simultaneously excited and super nervous to have my girls that age–mostly excited! And really grateful I wasn’t that age with social media, because even at 33, the picture below is a little hard to share, haha!

My in 7th grade with a tattoo choker.
12 year old me in 7th grade. My tattoo choker was the bomb.

What’s up for 2021?

I’m hopeful that I can read more books this year. I ended up taking a graduate level career advising class as professional development last Fall, and that kind of derailed reading anything other than my textbook. You know…in addition to being wiped out by the end of the work day during 2020. But, I’m not taking anything this semester, my kids are at school during the day so I’m not so beat at night, and I am looking forward to reading and learning in non-academic ways!

I have some finance books I’d like to read and I’d really like to read more fiction. I feel like I’m always in the self-improvement aisles at the library, but I forget how much I really love fiction. It’s like watching TV, but better 🙂 I have also already started reading Hood Feminism and it is eye-opening so far, as well as rereading one of my childhood favorites, Heidi!

What’s on your book list to read this year or what would you recommend for me?

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